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Aug 09 2018
Aug 09

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a hot topic when it comes to the discussion of online marketing. In today’s Internet climate, most people usually find websites by typing in a few keywords into their search engine of choice, like Google. Folks trust Google to present only the most relevant sites to their search queries, so it’s only natural the first couple of sites that get thrown up are the ones that get the most clicks and visitors.

As a consequence, those top page rankings are viewed as a prime real estate by those who want to boost traffic to their websites. After all, hardly anyone would bother checking the sixteenth results page when searching for a word or phrase. This is where SEO comes in.

 

What Is SEO? 

What is SEO | Vardot

SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to rank high among search engines. It’s a set of rules for organizing, populating, and presenting your website in such a way that improves its search rankings and puts businesses in a better position to earn.

Perhaps intentionally, having a well-optimized website not only makes search engines happy, it also makes visitors happy. Well-optimized websites are fast and easy to navigate, leaving your visitors with a positive impression and making them want to stick around your site a little more.

If you want to drive all that traffic to your website, it’s important to have the basics of SEO down pat, and have a grasp on what good and bad SEO practices are. It’s also important to have a good engine underneath the hood of your website, and Drupal just might be the CMS for you if that’s the case.

At its core, Drupal was built with SEO in mind. It has the power, flexibility, and tools needed to optimize every facet of your website for search engines, and in its huge kit of modules, there are quite a few that are dedicated to giving you an easier time when it comes to improving the optimization of your website. You really can’t go wrong with Drupal if you have your web page's search ranking in mind, and here are just a couple of things you can do with Drupal to improve your SEO and shoot to the top of Google search results.

 

Implementing Metatags

Meta tags | Vardot

Meta tags are bits of text that are integral when it comes to improving your website’s search ranking, because, in a way, it tells search engines what the content is on each page on your website. This could be the titles of your pages to the little descriptions you see underneath the website links on a Google results page. You and your search engine need these bits of information to properly present and index your site on the search results page.

Usually, you can leave it up to your search engine to generate your page’s metadata for you, but by using the Drupal Metatag module, you can customize the metadata yourself. Set your own information such as page titles and descriptions to more properly and correctly present your site to your search engine and the online world.

 

Cleaning up Your URLs

SEO URLs | Vardot

 

Having bad, messy-looking links is a no-no when it comes to SEO. You want links that are easy to read and not just a jumble of letters and numbers so that they look more attractive to prospective visitors and to your search engine, who may be looking at your URL for keywords when it determines your site’s ranking.

Many web developers never realize the implications of messy URLs and leave their link syntax as-is, but going through each and every page on your website and manually setting the URLs isn’t an attractive option either. Luckily, Drupal generates clean URLs by default, improving the readability of your links and making things a bit easier on you.

If you want your links to be better and even more easy on the eyes, popular Drupal module Pathauto is a configurable system that automatically creates clean and extremely readable links that are perfect for your site’s optimization.

Another thing to keep in mind is making sure that your links actually go somewhere. Nothing sours the user experience more than clicking a link and being presented with a 404 page, and this in turn negatively affects your search rankings.

You can avoid this from happening by using the Redirect module. If you happened to have changed the page’s URL after Google indexed it, or moved the content to a different URL, this module allows you to make 301 redirects from that old link to the new one, quickly and painlessly, without having to go through the headache of cleaning up after yourself and fixing broken links.

 

Improving Page Speed

Improve page speed | Vardot

Google has been using the speed your page loads as an influencing factor in search rankings for years at this point. As they point out, sites that load faster have users that stay on for much longer, so it’s not only Google that you’re pleased by speeding up your website.

You might have to spend a little to have your website up to speed, but Drupal comes with several measures to help pages load faster, such as using BigPipe.

However, it’s not only desktop users you have to keep in mind, but mobile users, too. Given the leaps and bounds that technology has undergone in the last couple of years, you now find more and more people browsing the web on their smartphones and tablets. It’s important to make sure that your site experience is just as friendly and accessible on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers. As anyone who has used a desktop site on a mobile device knows, it’s not a pleasant experience.

Drupal’s default theme is responsive by design, which means it will display well on mobile screens of any size without having to do complicated rewrites of code or having to juggle multiple URLs to make sure your site displays correctly. With Google now also looking at the page speed of mobile sites, it’s now more important than ever to focus on delivering a good, well-optimized mobile experience to improve your SEO.

 

Read more: SEO Checklist Before Launching Your Drupal Website

 

Talking to Your Search Engine

Search engine optimization tips | Vardot

Optimizing your website can be a little tough when you don’t even know basic things such as where your site traffic is coming from. Installing modules like Google Analytics makes you privy to such information, and for someone with their finger on the pulse of the site’s SEO, it’s perhaps one of the most important tools they can have.

With Google Analytics, you get to know things about your site visitors: Where in the world they come from, which links they followed to get to your site, which pages they visit and how much time they spend on those pages, what keywords they searched to find your page and more. If you’re concerned about SEO, then getting information about your website directly from Google, the most popular search engine in the world is valuable information to have, and can help you make decisions on what to improve on next.

And while you’re pulling information from Google about your website, you can also provide information about your website to Google in the form of an XML sitemap. These are specially formatted, condensed summaries of the pages of content on your website that you can submit to Google to help them find your site and let their bots crawl through your pages. Google can crawl through your site without an XML sitemap, but you take on the risk of them possibly missing pages.

With Drupal, generating an XML sitemap is as easy as installing the XML sitemap module which creates one for you, and modules like Cron can automatically make sure your sitemap is kept up-to-date with the latest information from your website.

 

Conclusion

These are only just a couple of the things you can do with Drupal to improve your SEO. Like all things worth doing, you can’t just press a button and magically have a well-made website ready to dominate the first page of the Google search rankings. It takes a good grasp of the basics, as well as a little effort, to have a perfectly optimized web page.

However, the road to that coveted #1 spot on the search results pages become a lot less bumpy thanks to the ease that Drupal gives you when it comes to optimizing your site.

Want to boost your site’s traffic and rank #1 on Google with Drupal? Message us through our Contact Us page, or via email at [email protected].

Why Drupal Is the Right CMS for Nonprofits & NGO’s

Jul 17 2018
Jul 17

6 Reasons Why Leading News and Media Networks are Using Drupal 8

Jun 12 2018
Jun 12

Why Choose Drupal 8 to Migrate from your Legacy CMS?

Jun 06 2018
Jun 06
Apr 08 2018
Apr 08

Intro

As the old adage goes, the devil is in the details. Websites are complex ecosystems that have many moving parts—it takes more than an eye-catching layout and clever text, as you’ll soon realize as we go through this article.

Here are a few pointers to get you started on the wild web:

 

Drupal CMS

First and foremost, jumpstart your web journey with a great software that allows for a hassle-free content management—easy writing, fast performance, and reliable security.

Drupal, one of the most well-known platforms for web content management easily ticks all the right boxes, creating a strong foundation that will power your venture into digital. Through modular solutions that create integrated digital frameworks, this free and flexible open source platform gives you the power to tailor fit your tools specifically to the needs of your business.

Compared to other platforms which force your business to work around their set systems and tools, Drupal does things your way. Limitless solutions coupled with a flexible content architecture means boundless opportunities for you and your business. Worry not about its capacity to handle heavy traffic, either, as it has proven its spectacular performance with many Drupal-powered big enterprise websites, like General Electric and Pfizer, and high traffic websites, like GRAMMY Awards and NBC Olympics.

As an open source platform, it also undergoes continuous and concentrated innovation from its open source community, making sure that it constantly meets your business’ increasing needs.

Content and Search Engine Optimization

With all the information available on the Internet, it can be difficult to stand out. Websites are a dime a dozen, and people have thousands of options to choose from.

Where to begin?

Build a strong foundation on engaging content and a cohesive search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Find out what people are searching for, and target keywords related to your brand. In addition to that, structure your site so that it is easy to navigate—both for your customers and search crawlers. Lastly, make sure your site is properly indexed so Google can find you right away.

Rather than merely producing content, figure out what content people need (which you’ll find out by doing keyword research) and deliver it. The more questions and queries you can answer, the more likely potential customers will engage you.

 

New Drupal Website Checklist

Design Review

More than how a website looks, the focus should be on how a website works. Create a pleasant user experience for your customers by studying how the different elements of your website interact with each other.

To test, do side-by-side comparisons of the proposed layouts and approved designs, and perfect every intricate detail (i.e. fonts, header styles, color schemes, etc.) that could possibly affect a user’s browsing experience.

Another very important element to consider is the images because they play such a huge role in the overall aesthetics and experience of the website. Make sure your images are properly and legally licensed and compress them so that they load quickly.

Always communicate with your website’s design team to iron out details. Talk about any and all matters that need to be attended to before moving on.

 

New Drupal Website Checklist

Analytics

Ideally, something as crucial as setting up your website’s analytics should be done right the first time. You don’t want to spend unnecessary time, money, and energy redoing something that will be an imperative part of your platform’s core. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, historical reports that provide valuable insight for future strategic decisions wouldn’t be available for perusal should you make further revisions and alterations down the line.

Google Analytics provides a set of potent tools that should cover all the necessary bases for your website needs.

 

New Drupal Website Checklist

Website Browser Testing

Now that you’ve set up all the elements of the website, it’s time to test if it works the way it was designed. Perform tests on each and every website functionality to check for bugs and errors in performance, and adjust the codes accordingly.

Monitor website performance through specialized trackers such as Google PageSpeed and Pingdom Tools to match customer expectations with actual website user experience.

 

New Drupal Website Checklist

Final Pre-Launch

Before going live, test the more technical aspects that play an important role in the overall website performance. Go through each one of those aspects because even a small detail overlooked can be a costly mistake in the long run.

Set up all domain registrations and third-party item connections to proper accounts; list down all unmet deliverables and plan for completion; download the current website using WebZip to back up your old site and revert to it if things go wrong; and confirm appointments with your go-to contact person for technical and IT matters.

After ticking all the pre-launch items, it’s finally time to go live and get your website up and running, but make sure not to do it on a Friday.

Post-launch

Once you take your website live, it will undergo a propagation period of a few hours for indexing and updating. While this is going on, what shows up on mobile might not necessarily mirror what your desktop screen displays, but this is nothing to worry about, as all devices will eventually parallel each other’s screens once the propagation period is over.

New Drupal Website Checklist

Announcement and Marketing

Now that your website is finally running smoothly, it’s time to announce this milestone to the public. Hype up your new website and continuously build up interest among stakeholders through constant and consistent promotion in your various consumer touchpoints (i.e. email, social media, newsletters, etc.).

Conclusion

When you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. But when you prepare, you set yourself up for success.

Props to you for doing your proper research on the best ways to launch your new company website. Just remember to go through this launch checklist faithfully and, in no time, sit back and relax as you watch incoming site traffic come in droves and your overall business performance soar.

Feb 15 2018
Feb 15

Omar Alahmed is a Technical Team Lead at Vardot with more than 10 years experience in web development, specializing in PHP and Drupal. Omar has worked with Drupal since 2007 starting with Drupal 5 and has continued along mastering 6, 7, and Drupal 8.

Omar had multiple motivations to earn certifications, which serve to establish his credibility and expertise. He has achieved Zend Certified PHP Engineer in Sep 2013, Oracle Certified Professional (OCP) MySQL 5.6 Developer in May 2014, Acquia Certified Developer - Drupal 7 in Dec 2014, and most recently, Acquia Certified Developer - Drupal 8 in Jan 2018 and Acquia Certified Back End Specialist - Drupal 8 in Feb 2018.

More importantly, is the added benefit of the time spent reviewing and studying all of the relevant topics and materials that these qualifications are built upon. His deep study of computer science concepts allowed him to step beyond surface-level theory and apply his learnings directly in his application of the code.

We interview Omar about what excites him most working with enterprise Drupal implementations at Vardot.

 

What are the tasks you find most exciting?

I started as a full-stack developer and I always feel that it is the best role for a new web developer. This is because it will introduce you to the broadest view of the web development life-cycle process. Taking this approach will give you exposure and the opportunity to examine what is needed in each phase. However, after getting the needed experience, some tasks may distract you from the deeper technical items. Therefore, I currently prefer to work on more custom tasks, such as using APIs and custom module development.

At Vardot, we follow the Agile methodology in our project development life-cycle. This usually begins with a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), dividing the project deliverables into small chunks, and then assigning them to project’s team members. I prefer to work on the more customized tasks, either on the backend or frontend and to guide and train other team members when needed. For our team, this helps us deliver the tasks in a formalized practice and ensures projects to follow the Drupal best-practices, thus contributing to the Drupal project more often in each project.

 

How did you prepare for the exams? What background knowledge does one need to get Acquia Drupal 8 Developer & Acquia Back End Specialist Certified?

When I received the Acquia Certified Developer - Drupal 7 certification, I realized that the exam truly validates a Drupal developer experience in mastering a Drupal website in a professional and standardized way. It is not a theoretical exam and cannot be passed simply by reading a study guide. Practical experience in developing web applications, like the work I do at Vardot, is required to succeed.

At Vardot we always strive to follow and endorse the best practices in development and apply it to different types of projects. Given this experience, I didn't find any difficulties during the preparation for the exam. I made sure to review the study guide links that were provided by Acquia and found ways to programmatically apply the topics that I had not worked with before. This allowed me to apply these topics in action instead of only reading about them.

Anyone pursuing this certification would probably agree that programming is an experimental science. In order to obtain the reusable knowledge at hand, you must write code and repeatedly practice. This method will help you expose problems that you may not be been introduced to before. I found that the published Acquia documentation is a good start for module development, as well as the Drupal API documentation.

Particularly:

Don't panic if you don't have an enjoyable experience in the Drupal API or module development resources. The key takeaway is to get an overview of the topics and then apply as much as you can.

Preparing using the above material is very important for both the Developer and Back End Specialist exams. The Developer exam covers advanced topics, but it also encompasses site building skills, such as working with content types, blocks, taxonomies, and views.

The Back End Specialist exam touches everything about Drupal API, performance, security, contributing to the community, and how to apply these techniques in real tasks by giving real scenarios or problems and asking to resolve them in the best way. So make sure to understand Drupal 8 core’s structure, and to do more hands-on practices before taking the exam, especially if you are not familiar with the latest PHP and OOP development techniques such as design patterns.

For further information about the content of the exams, you can check out the study guides for Acquia certification exams and an overview of Acquia Certification Program.

 

What are some tips you would give other developers working on Drupal 8?

As a Drupal 8 developer, you have probably observed that the Drupal community is the most important factor that places Drupal as the top web development platform. Therefore, I would say to try to interact with the community members; don’t work alone, don’t repeat yourself, and be cooperative as much as possible. If you find a bug or need a new feature, feel free to create a new issue in the project. You can also resolve, test and patch it to enable all Drupalers around the world to benefit along with you.

You’re probably aware that Drupal 8 is built on top of many Symfony2 components, like DependencyInjection, EventDispatcher, and Routing, with some customizations to be suitable for Drupal needs. With that in mind, it's a good idea for you to traverse how the core uses these components in order to facilitate and speed up your Drupal development. It’s important to always use the Drupal core code as an example if you need to write custom code because it will illustrate the best way to proceed and enlighten you what APIs are available for use. This helps you learn by example.

Summary

Omar Alahmed gives us a great example of what it takes to demonstrate success as a specialized developer in the Drupal community. Through his exhibited certifications, we can assume Omar's background required many dedicated hours of hard work and study. But we can also see that he was preparing for more than just certifications. Omar shows a passion for web development community at large, offering his advice as a team lead on what it takes to be a successful team player. His method of approaching problems and finding new ways to create solutions using industry best practices and established patterns makes Omar an invaluable member of our development team at Vardot.

Jan 09 2018
Jan 09

The most popular websites know that the secret to maintaining high traffic is audience collaboration: keeping readers or viewers hooked by encouraging them to participate in your site or brand’s day-to-day activity.

By engaging with an audience, you give visitors more reasons to click through pages, explore links, and visit repeatedly.

Here are six of the most effective ways to engage with your audience, chosen for their simplicity and impact:

 

1. Know Your Audience

6 Ways To Boost Your Site Traffic | Know Your Audience

Proper content planning takes a keen familiarity with your target audience, their habits, and their preferences. Google Analytics and similar marketing tools offer customers vital information about their users: where they come from, what kinds of devices they use, and what they do when they explore your site.


This is a reliable way of mapping the behavior of your average visitor and which pages or types of content are the most valuable. Likewise, knowing what devices your visitors use can give you insight into their preferences and help you assess whether or not your site is optimized for the people who comprise the majority of your traffic.

Audience collaboration is a matter of gathering and using your visitors’ input to improve their experiences with your website.  When you make changes to your website that reflect your audience’s feedback and preferences, they’ll be sure to notice.

 

2. Keep Your Comments Sections Open and Moderated

6 Ways To Boost Your Site Traffic | Comments Sections

One thing that keeps people coming back to a site is a sense of community. If a website can serve as a gathering place for like-minded people, they’ll be much more likely to make a habit out of checking in.

You can opt for a message board like Disqus, or open each post to community discussion by allowing for comments. Whatever your decision might be, make sure to have a comprehensive set of policies and guidelines to maintain healthy discussion, as well as a dedicated team of moderators online to enforce them. You want to keep your comments section to house your audience’s ideas and opinions, not the ramblings of spam bots and trolls.

 

3. Give Your Audience Plenty to Talk About

6 Ways To Boost Your Site Traffic | Audience Engagement

To get the most value out of each page, blog entry, or video upload, your content has to be written or designed to generate discussion. Open-ended blog articles that pose questions for your readership are a great example, as are message boards with updated talking points good for a certain time period (i.e. daily or weekly). Don’t believe us? Let us know why in the comments below.

In an age where content spreads like wildfire, you also want to make sure your website pulls all the shares and inbound links it can. After inspiring a discussion, your next best outcome is to encourage your readers to drag your friends into it as well. If a page on your site receives heavy inbound traffic, you know you're on the right track.

 

4. Be Responsive

6 Ways To Boost Your Site Traffic | Responsive web design

A few points back, we mentioned how community-building is a valid and effective marketing strategy for businesses and content creators alike. However, conditioning your visitors to share their opinions and connect with like minds is only half of the equation; the other half is creating a persona to join in those discussions.

Your website is a personality of its own, and many elements of effective brand communication apply to cyberspace. You’ll want to communicate in a way visitors find interesting, sincere, and reliable.

Just be sure to keep a cool head and learn to deal with disruptive commenters. As we’ve said before, the internet can be a very frustrating place; take the worst of it in stride and don’t ever lose your head when engaging through your brand’s account.

 

5. Get With The Times

6 Ways To Boost Your Site Traffic | Audience collaboration

 

The best content creators know how to use popular culture to their advantage. Although content creation is about making something original and unique, the best websites balance this with appeals and references to things that modern audiences already appreciate, from casually mentioning recent blockbusters or hit TV shows, to breaking the clinical and professional tone to deliver a well-timed joke.

This makes both your persona and your website feel more relatable and convinces your audience that your core messaging is relevant to their interests.

6. Learn from What They Love

6 Ways To Boost Your Site Traffic | Audience Engagement

Let’s face it: yours isn’t the only website your audience visits. Odds are your target demographic subscribes to a handful of other websites out of habit, and, sometimes, they love those websites more than they love yours.

Don’t let this fact get you down, but let it inspire you. Find out what websites your demographic visits most frequently, and take a page from their book. Take note of how they designed their site, how their writing looks, and everything you feel as you pass through their visitor experience. All of this should give you some idea of your audience’s preferences, as well as give a strong benchmark against which you can compare your own website.

 

Conclusion

Your visitors are the foundation of your website’s success. Take every opportunity to hear what they have to say, and adapt accordingly--you’ll be glad you collaborated with your audience when the ad revenue and sales come rolling in.

Dec 26 2017
Dec 26

A kick-off meeting with clients can set the tone for an entire project, along with setting up everyone’s expectations. It’s a big deal! And you want to do it right. Your kick-off meeting needs to be a success because you want your project to be a success.

Read on to learn a little more about how to prepare, what to do in advance, where you need to find agreement with the client, and how you can set and meet goals presented by the team.

 

1. Be Prepared & Know Who Will Attend the Meeting

Tips for your Project Kick-off Meeting


You and your clients are excited, and there is a great deal to discuss. There are steps you should take before you meet them in the boardroom.

First, familiarize yourself with the client. Who is the stakeholder? Who will be in the room, and what role do they play? What do you need to obtain from each of them? Take the time to review every single participant, so that you can anticipate their questions, too. To start off the meeting, let everyone introduce themselves.

Speaking of questions, it is smart to have clearly-defined questions ready. This will establish the role you are playing, which is the role of Expert. Nothing that comes out of that meeting can surprise you if you do your research properly.

Research should involve past projects, too. Have you worked on anything similar? What was the client worried about in those situations? What did they focus on? Go through past notes and address similar concerns so that you can move past them quickly this time around.

 

2. Set a Clear Agenda

Tips for your Project Kick-off Meeting

Having an agenda to refer to will help you save time in the long run. It will also keep you from derailing off-topic and going off on a tangent. Include brief breaks if you need to, especially if the meeting is going to go long. Your audience will be grateful that you set aside time to allow them to gather their thoughts and to make queries.

Send the agenda to the client well ahead of the meeting. They will be grateful to receive a clear outline of expectations and deliverables for the meeting. They can also do their own preparation before coming to the table.

Make sure the meeting is going to take place face to face. If you cannot be in the same room as your clients, set up a video conferencing call. Do not rely on the phone. There will be more of a connection this way.

 

3. Set the Tone

 

Tips for your Project Kick-off Meeting

Prepare the room and all of your equipment ahead of time. Make sure reception knows who to expect, and prepare refreshments. Print out your agendas, and create visual tools to get the conversation flowing. A one-on-one conversation with a client before the meeting can also help you get to know the people you will be working with and will help create jumping-off points for discussion.

You likely have a presentation style, and it’s a good idea to review that now. Will this be an appropriate space for sharing your own industry knowledge? Perhaps a collaborative discussion or a brainstorming session makes more sense than a rapid-fire proposal.

If you fear there may be opposing viewpoints in the room, have a plan for drawing out and addressing tension. Finding your method of approach can result in more credibility for you and your team, and will help you build enthusiasm for the work ahead.

Read more: Project Manager’s Guide into Breaking Down a Drupal Site for Incremental Delivery

 

4. Define the Next Steps Together

 

Tips for your Project Kick-off Meeting

By the time your kick-off meeting ends, what needs to be completed? What needs to be agreed-upon? Whether you are working with a single entrepreneur or a corporation, write down their list of demands or expectations. Plan to discuss them one by one before the meeting ends. Use their own verbiage to show that you are A) listening closely and B) capable of getting the work done.

 

5. Establish a Communication Plan

 

Tips for your Project Kick-off Meeting

Do not end the meeting without reviewing the ground rules. How will you communicate in the days and weeks ahead? Come to a conclusion with your clients about the goals of the project, and how you will meet them. Answer the who, what, where, how, and why of those deliverables in detail.

Your client may prefer collaboration throughout the project, while others prefer to circulate results internally and then transfer feedback later on down the road. Know what to expect when you hear back from them.

Make sure you know whether the client wants to be communicated with constantly and see incremental deliveries, or if they simply want to receive the end result.

 

6. Set Realistic Expectations

 

Tips for your Project Kick-off Meeting

The worst thing you can do is set client expectations too high, and then fail to follow through. Be realistic about your capabilities, and timing and delivery of the project. This is the only chance you will have to convey a timeline to your client and help them understand how the process works.

When you discuss deadlines, be brief and concise. Your client likely does not want to hear about every little thing you will be doing to meet their expectations. After all, that’s why they hired you!  

 

In Conclusion

By taking these steps to prepare for and rock your meeting, you will be in good shape for meeting client expectations and hitting them out of the park. Project scope often adjusts as you move forward, but if you follow this guide closely, it will deviate very little from the original plan. Your team and their team will be enthused, motivated, and ready to get to work!

Dec 13 2017
Dec 13

An earlier post presents what we believed were the top 10 free Drupal themes at the time.

This post is an update of the previous post with two important changes to the evaluation criteria. First, the previous list includes themes for both Drupal version 7 and 8; the new top 10 list consists of free themes for Drupal 8 only. While Drupal 7 is still the most used Drupal version today, Drupal 8 is by far the most popular, and when it is finally time to upgrade, the vast number of Drupal 7 sites will need to replace their existing theme with one that supports Drupal 8.

 

Themes for Drupal 8

The second reason for updating the list is that Bootstrap has emerged as the industry-leading front-end framework for developing responsive mobile-first websites. In fact, recent web analytics indicates that 16.3% of all websites are built with the Bootstrap framework. Bootstrap for Drupal is a base theme which implements the Bootstrap framework on the Drupal technology platform. The Bootstrap for the Drupal base theme has gained wide adoption and support in the Drupal community, including Tag1 Consulting, its maintainer.

Numerous Drupal modules have been implemented to enhance site building using the Bootstrap base theme. For instance, Views Bootstrap and Bootstrap Layouts are 2 modules that support site builders with theme component creation and layout respectively.

Vardot‘s own Drupal 8 distribution, Varbase, also supports the Bootstrap base theme. In addition, Vardot has contributed 2 modules to support the creation of View modes, Layouts, and Paragraphs using Bootstrap: Varbase Bootstrap Paragraphs and View Modes Inventory - Bootstrap Ready

In summary, to be considered for the new top 10 theme list, a theme must be: Free; Supported on Drupal 8; Bootstrap-based; General purpose - instead of industry-specific; and Responsive.  

 

 

1. Creative Responsive

Creative responsive

Creative Responsive occupies the top spot on the top 10 list with respect to the number of deployments on Drupal 8 websites as of November 2017. This theme supports the display of web contents in 3 columns: the main column, a left, and a right sidebar. Also, you can configure up to 16 block regions to organize information on a webpage. Last but not least, built-in support is provided to integrate with popular social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

If you are looking for a reputable general-purpose theme with a modern look, Creative Response is a very strong candidate.

 

 

2. Business Responsive

Business Responsive Theme | Themes for Drupal 8

 

Business Responsive and the aforementioned Creative Responsive are 2 themes created by the same parent company, Zymphonies.

Despite being the slightly older and scaled-down version of Creative Responsive, Business Responsive makes up for the lack of finesse by just working reliably. As an added insurance, you can purchase premium support for the theme from Zymphonies. If you want a no-frills corporate theme that just works out-of-the-box, you should definitely consider Business Responsive.

 

 

3. NewsPlus Lite

NewsPlus Lite Theme | Themes for Drupal 8

 

NewsPlus Lite is the free version of the NewsPlus Premium theme. The premium version is essentially a Drupal distribution which includes the free NewsPlus Lite theme.

Despite its name, this theme is at par feature-wise with the other top free themes. For some features, NewsPlus Lite is even better, e.g., it supports the 3-column layout. What sets NewsPlus Lite apart is the up-to-date online documentation database which is maintained by MoreThanThemes, its parent company, and a reputable Drupal theme vendor.

If you are building a news magazine website, and don’t have a lot of prior experience doing so, NewsPlus Lite is well worth your consideration.

 

 

4. Bootstrap Mint

Bootstrap Mint Theme | Themes for Drupal 8

Bootstrap Mint boasts the most flexible layout among the top 10 themes. It can lay out web content in up to 4 columns and 25 regions. Given that only higher screen resolutions can support the display of 4 columns, this theme is best viewed using a desktop or laptop. If the majority of your web audience visit your website via a desktop or laptop, you should definitely consider using this theme for its layout capability.

 

 

5. Showcase Lite

Showcase Lite Theme | Themes for Drupal 8

Showcase Lite is the free version of ShowcasePlus Premium, both created by MoreThanThemes which also owns the aforementioned NewsPlus themes. The Showcase Lite theme is designed with the creative enterprises in mind. Specifically, this theme supports the use of video galleries and sliders, critical features for a design studio business. If you are building an image-intensive website and require corporate technical support, Showcase Lite is not to be ignored.

 

 

6. Ice Magic

Ice Magic Theme | Themes for Drupal 8

Ice Magic distinguishes itself among the top 10 themes by being the most color configurable. Most free themes only offer a very limited color scheme (e.g., 3 colors) that you can apply to a fixed set of theme elements. Ice Magic, on the other hand, includes a color module which allows you to specify colors from a color spectrum. Ice Magic should be on your radar if you are meticulous about color options on your website.

 

 

7. Robotic

Robotic Theme | Themes for Drupal 8

Robotic is a highly customizable theme for even the technically challenged. You can customize the carousel, social media icons, and the interface colors. If you require the ability to fine-tune the look-and-feel of your website all without coding, you should look into Robotic.

 

 

8. Magazine Lite

Magazine Lite | Themes for Drupal 8

Magazine Lite is the free version of the Premium Magazine+ theme distribution. It is a theme custom designed for news and magazine websites. If your goal is to build a stylish news and magazine website with a clean uncluttered look, Magazine Lite should be on your short list of themes.  

 

 

9. The One

The One | Themes for Drupal 8

The One is unique among the top 10 themes in that it supports the seamless single-page website design. Not everyone is a fan of the single-page design, but if you are, look no further than The One.

 

 

10. SOLID

SOLID | Themes for Drupal 8

Despite its name, the SOLID theme is one of the more visually appealing themes in the top 10 list. It’s simple but elegant and functional which makes it a multi-purpose theme suitable for general deployment.

 

Summary & Conclusion

Are you operating a Drupal 7 website, and planning an upgrade to 8 in the near future? Part of the upgrade will involve picking a theme that supports Drupal 8. If your requirements are well satisfied by a free theme, you should definitely consider selecting a Bootstrap-based theme from our top 10 list. Note that Varbase, Vardot’s custom Drupal 8 distribution, supports all themes on the top 10 list. If you have requirements that are beyond the capability of free themes or you need customization, please contact Vardot's professional services to inquire about the Varbase distribution.

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web